What does “Recovered” really mean?

Cases have quickly risen this October and November, and officials are worried about what the holiday gatherings might bring if families are not careful. They also gave insight into what “recovered” really means when looking at reports. Medina County has reported a total of 1,402 cases, and 125 hospitalizations (which are always backlogged as officials rely on family members to provide this information), and 34 deaths as of this Monday, November 16.
“We at 41 active cases today as several went into the recovered category, so we are down a little from our last report, but I really just added 22 active cases today,” Mechler said, who said there were 19 cases added just a few days ago on the 12th, so things are far from flattening.
Medina County has 1,327 listed in the Recovered Category. But this week officials gave a better idea of what the word “Recovered” really means on these reports.
“We have to use the word ‘recovered’ in our reports because that’s what the State uses, but it doesn’t mean that the person is actually recovered from the virus. It just means it’s been 14 days, and after that period of time the infection is not considered active. So after 14 days, an ‘active’ case always drops off and goes into the ‘recovered’ category, but that doesn’t mean the person is really recovered or that they don’t have any complications.”
“Those cases that are in the ‘Recovered’ category doesn’t mean those people are okay or that they don’t have any complications of COVID. I do believe that most people do recover, but some do not, and we aren’t following up with these people for weeks or months after to see how they are doing,” Mechler explains. “Covid seems to touch everyone differently.”
“We have had at least three people who ‘recovered,’ who sadly passed away from COVID complications. It’s happened at least 3 times that I know of,” Mechler explains.
We ourselves have interviewed many other locals who suffered for weeks on end, even months with serious ongoing COVID complications.
COVID has been a long haul for one local contractor, Paul Camacho of Devine, who contracted the virus in early July. “I was ill for almost 58 days, and then I thought I was good for a few days,” Camacho said. “I was happy, but then I got more health issues started happening. My back started hurting and then I was coughing up blood clots the size of a quarter. My diabetes got out of control, real bad headaches (which I never had before COVID), and I lost 8 teeth due to a secondary infection. Now there is an infection in my gums. They just called me today to say the X-Ray shows more work needs to be done to my gum and my doctor cannot do it. My doctor was saying he has never seen something like this. They all ask me ‘Did you have COVID?’ and I tell them yes. It’s bad. It just won’t let go of me. Every time I start to feel better, something else comes up. What I am dealing with is the aftermath of COVID.”
“I have two teenage grandchildren with asthma who had a hard time with it too. One of them fought COVID for about 4 weeks, and the other about 10 days, but now she is starting to have more problems.”

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HALLOWEEN & the Holidays
“So right now, we are recovering a lot of cases that happened over Halloween,” Mechler said. “And we are finding that instead of just testing the one child or parent with COVID symptoms, more families are having everyone tested, and all are testing positive in some cases. So we have families of 3 or 4 people who are all positive, cases in the same household who are both symptomatic and asymptomatic.”
“Our schools are doing such a good job,” Mechler said. “Where we are not doing such a good job is with the events going on….especially weddings. If you have a big wedding and one person has COVID, how many people are going to come down with COVID or need to be quarantined? You have to really think about that and be responsible.”
‘Two or three days after Halloween we started to see kids and adults getting sick….I am worried right now because we had a spike at Halloween, and numbers have still not really dropped off yet, but now we are heading into Thanksgiving,” Mechler notes.
“Our schools started seeing a spike shortly before Halloween, and have done a great job of controlling it. A lot of schools are having issues, but are having to do more quarantines. I know Natalia actually sent kids home and started doing all remote for one of their campuses when they saw a spike. They are doing a great job. I have seen some colleges, say they are sending kids home for the holidays and not they are not bringing kids back for in-person instruction until January. I am not sure what our local schools are planning, but that’s not a bad idea. I wish we were taking 2 weeks off in-person instruction after every holiday.”
“Schools are doing really well, but when kids get together outside of school for parties or Halloween for example, that’s when we start to see it,” Mechler said.
“It gets sticky when you have a family member with COVID. You should really quarantine for 14 days after the family member’s 10 day isolation period is over. So some of these kids and parents really need to be quarantined for 24 days, and that’s hard. I don’t think we are all following the quarantine protocols.”
Backlogged reports and deaths
We also asked about the difference in reporting that we have seen, as there have been at least 4 deaths that occurred months ago that were just reported in the past couple weeks.
“One thing that has changed is that now we have access to death certificates, whereas we did not before. So when we see COVID on a certificate, we can then track down info and do an investigation to see if COVID was the cause of death or not,” Mechler said. “As far as some of the backlogged cases we are seeing come in large numbers, I really don’t have an answer for that. Our local clinics report to us quickly, but we just do not get some of the cases reported until weeks later, especially from the free testing sites in San Antonio.”
Mechler reminds everyone how important it is to get flu shots this year too.
“Our businesses hae suffered enough, and we want to do everything we can to help them be able to stay open,” Mechler said. “Try to keep your holiday groups small, because any exposure you have will then be carried into your schools and your workplace.”
“We recommend telling everybody to wear masks at your Thanksgiving gatherings, and if you are elderly, you might just skip the gathering altogether,” Judge Chris Schuchart said.
And both officials reminded residents that “Dr. Richard Neel has a great regimen to treat COVID.”
By Kayleen Holder